House passes amendments opening up professions to foreigners

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THE House of Representatives on Monday approved on third reading a bill that amends a 1991 law regulating foreign investment to remove professions from the official list of areas of the economy barred to foreigners.

With 201 affirmative votes and seven negatives, the chamber approved House Bill No. 8764, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7042, or the Foreign Investments Act of 1991.

The bill proposed to amend section 4 of the FIA by deleting the “practice of professions” from the items listed under the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL).

The Committee Report said the amendment intends to bring in more “foreign direct investment and facilitate transfer of technology, and share expertise.”

It also lowers the hiring threshold to 15 from 50 employees for small and medium-sized enterprises established by foreign investors with minimum paid-up capital of $100,000. — Charmaine A. Tadalan